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East Midlands Chamber News

Automotive Technology Institute to tackle East Midlands skills threat

The MIRA Technology Institute, due to open its doors in September, is set to address skills gaps that threaten to damage the Midlands economy.

A survey commissioned by the East Midlands Chamber revealed that 30% of companies were finding it difficult to recruit staff that have the skills they need, with more than two fifths reporting hard to fill vacancies at technician level.

The research, from the Chamber’s first Quarterly Economic Survey of 2018, is due to be discussed at an Employability and Skills Summit on 20 June where employers, education providers and other agencies will unite to discuss ways of improving productivity and streamlining industrial strategy.

Already set to address such issues within the region’s high value automotive industry, the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) is designed to fulfil the skills need of the sector from apprentice, through technician, and all the way to chartered engineer.

The MTI, due to open later this year, will be a purpose-built centre for automotive training excellence, situated on the world-class MIRA Technology Park near Nuneaton, offering accredited programmes from Level 2 to Level 8, as well as bespoke training and commercial courses.

Marion Plant OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, the lead partner for the MTI, said: “We are only too aware of the risks to the region’s economic prosperity and how this could decline if we don’t work together with employers to address critical skills gaps.

“We developed the MTI concept after the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership identified the significance of training the next generation of engineers in the latest automotive technology.

“The MTI will be employer-led, and we will work with partners from industry to ensure that they are able to access training and qualifications that specifically address their needs. For the automotive industry that means developing people who can work with disruptive technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles, cyber security, electrification and the latest emissions technology.

“There is no quick fix to the issue of skills gaps because developing talented individuals takes time. That’s why MTI students will be able to access automotive training at any level via our unique skills escalator whether they are starting at ground level or need higher level qualifications.

“One of the key benefits to the automotive industry is that, for the first time, all of these skills can be acquired via a single organisation in state of the art facilities alongside some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers.”

The MTI is a unique collaboration between the College, HORIBA MIRA, the University of Leicester, Loughborough University and Coventry University, working with leading organisations in the automotive industry. Currently under construction using £9.5m investment from the UK Government’s Growth Fund, the 24,500sq ft facility will open its doors later this year.

Its vision is to become a global centre of excellence where industry leaders, engineers, technicians and business professionals come to develop industry essential skills, key to fuelling their career ambitions and their employer’s business success.

Through the MTI, the automotive industry will benefit from opportunities to:
Upskill their current workforce in the latest in automotive technology
Recruit a new generation of automotive engineering apprentices, trained in a cutting-edge environment
Access new, disruptive technologies including Rapid Prototype, 3D printing, robotics, fluid power, mechatronics, electronic circuit design
Maximise the use of their Apprenticeship Levy and access to other government funding for training
Benefit from the MTI Skills Escalator which enables apprentices to progress to higher and degree level apprenticeships.

To find out more about MIRA, email be@nwslc.ac.uk

For further information about the Employability and Skills Summit visit https://bit.ly/2LMfkxe.